and . . . their sins." Isa. 58:1
There are probably as many alleged "reasons" as there are people. But in the simplest of terms, they all fall into one or more of three groups: fear, greed and hate.
1. Fear (of being rejected, and fear of losing something [greed])
2. Fear of conflict
3. Fear and Greed
4. Fear (of being unpopular)
5. Fear (Self-protection, Fear of Truth)
6. "Social lies, or white lies, are so common most people wouldn't even call them lies. The intent is not to deceive, but to respect the other person's sensitivity."
One reason is that often we are afraid to tell the truth because we fear losing something. We don't know how to be both absolutely truthful and how to demonstrate love at the same time. We fear that if we tell the absolute truth we shall hurt or end the social relationship. This lying is not out of love or sensitivity, but out of selfishness. We do this with family, close friends, employers and coworkers, or in any relationship where we feel we have something to lose by telling the truth.
Another reason is that we don't really care but we still wish to avoid an unpleasant or dangerous situation. We do this when shopping or traveling. We do it with neighbors, strangers or even acquaintances. We do it because we don't know the other person very well, so we don't really care. And we do it whenever there is a chance that it will somehow inconvenience us by taking up time or placing us at some risk. In other words we are afraid of losing something whether it is time, safety, or the investment of emotional effort on our part.
If the true reason for lying is sensitivity or loving concern for others, then why do we turn around and gossip behind their back to others about the lie? Why do we use their question to belittle, ridicule or slander them to others? We pretend to ourselves that it is sensitivity, but in reality, we do not respect them enough to make the effort to convey truth without being offensive. What we are demonstrating by the lying is that the individual or the relationship isn't worth the effort to tell the truth. And while we are too lazy or "too busy" to put the effort into one social relationship to tell the truth, we still have enough time and energy to use the question and the lie as gossip material in some other social relationship.
We claim sensitivity, but the fact is that we are too insensitive and contemptible of others to be able to tell the truth.
In some cases, we may know from previous experience that the person really doesn't want the truth. They are practicing self-deception and do not want to be disturbed in their fantasy. For us to lie to them makes us an enabler of their self-deception in the same way that we can enable alcoholics or drug abusers. The fact that others choose to lie to themselves does not require that we participate in their lying. We make a choice to participate or not, depending upon our own fears or insensitivity. We choose to participate in their lying because we fear losing something or because we don't really care enough to hold up the truth. Again it comes down to fear or insensitivity. Insensitivity is a lack of love, or in other words, hate.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." (Pro. 27:5-6).